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Engineering Education Activities

Education Activities

  • Steering committee for Scientia Conference on Research and Innovations in Undergraduate Sdcience and Engineering Education, February 11–12, 2011, Rice University, Houston, TX. Description
  • Member, American Society of Engineering Education
  • Founding Member, Rice University Outreach Council.
  • Rice University School of Natural Science K-12 Program Review Board.
  • Chair, Rice University School of Engineering Education Forum and Working Group.
  • Engineering Team Leader for the Southeast Regional Texas STEM Center (state sponsored), including presenting at several high school teacher training sessions.
  • Selected participant in NSF-sponsored (DUE 0714137) workshop Technological Literacy of Undergraduates: Identifying Standard Models, March 26-27, 2007, National Academy of Engineering, Washington, DC.
  • Presenting panel member at 37th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference session 42F, The Technological Literacy of Undergraduates: Developing Standard Models, October 12, 2007, Milwaukee, WI.
  • Dean's representative to the Engineering Education NSF Awardees Conference, September 26-28, 2007, Washington, DC.
  • Organized two-days of workshops for Rice faculty on Teaching Engineering, & Evaluating Teaching, 2007.
  • Organized a one and a half day workshop for new Rice faculty on Effective Teaching, 2010.
  • Developed a new course on Teaching Engineering for graduate students interested in academic positions.
  • Co-developer of a project-based course introducing engineering design to aspiring engineering majors and non-engineering majors; course instructor since 1991.

Professional Development

  • Three-day National Effective Teaching Institute workshop, June 15-17, 2006, Chicago, IL.
  • American Society of Engineering Education Annual Meeting, June 18-21, 2006, Chicago, IL. Attendance at general sessions and the workshop Building Capacity for Engineering Education Research (0230).
  • American Society of Engineering Education Annual Meeting, June 24-27, 2007, Honolulu, HI. Attendance at general sessions and two workshops: NSF Capstone Design Assessment Workshop (0325), and Best Practices in the Design and Use of Concept Inventories (0430)
  • Engineering Education NSF Awardees Conference, September 26-28, 2007, Washington, DC. Including special sessions on Research Experience for Teachers in Engineering Programs, Assessing Engineering Education Grants, Project Assessment using the DIO Cycle, and Recruiting from Diverse Populations.
  • 37th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, October 10-13, 2007, Milwaukee, WI. Attendance at general sessions and two workshops: Tools for Team Assignments and Peer Evaluation (2-C), and Engineering Education Proposal Writing and Project Management (3-B).

Current Projects



The projects below are described in more detail at the Rice Engineering Design Experience web site.

  • Project Director for the Rice Engineering Design Experience, a three-year professional development program for in-service high school teachers to introduce them to the engineering profession, engineering design and problem solving, and to enable them to incorporate design-based curriculum in science classes. Funded by the Texas Teacher Quality Grants Program (Link), 1 May 2009 - 31 May 2012.
  • Co-PI on a grant from the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education; Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program, Type 2; Expanding Technological Literacy for National Level Institutions; with Iowa State University, Ohio State University, and Hope College; 15 September 2009 - 31 August 2011. The project goal is to develop a Minor in Engineering Science for non-engineering undergraduates as an approach to developing technological competence in non-engineers.

In Development

Proposal 1119381 to NSF Discovery and Research K–12 Program; January 2011
Changes in Secondary School Teacher Performance and Student STEM Achievement Following Design-Oriented Professional Development (Funding declined 7/2011).
Co-PIs: Margaret E. Beier & Christine G. Schnitka.

There is universal agreement that the teaching of STEM subjects in U.S. schools must be improved, driven in part by concerns for the development of a diverse U.S. workforce that can be competitive in the global economy. Proponents of including engineering in secondary schools claim doing so can increase student engagement, improve learning in science and mathematics, increase technological literacy, provide a better understanding of what engineers do, and increase the number of students who pursue STEM careers. But there is limited data to support these claims. This program proposes research to collect such data.

School administrators considering adding engineering face difficult issues. Unlike core subjects, in engineering, there are no national standards, no teacher credentialing standards, and virtually no pre-service training programs. There are few qualified teachers, and a wide variation in what happens in classrooms in the name of engineering education. This program will develop a model teacher training program that tackles that need. We believe that our infusion approach to adding engineering content will be more sustainable and adoptable, and will achieve similar or better results than other approaches. Our research questions are, given this training, to what extent do the teachers implement open-ended laboratory, problem solving, and design activities in their classrooms, and, most importantly, does this change translate into improved student performance and attitudes toward STEM careers?